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The Fundamentals of Hair Care: Controlling the microstructure of lamellar polycrystalline formulations under dynamic consumer-relevant processes

Department of Chemistry

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Prof A Ryan , Dr OM Mykhaylyk No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Structure-property relationships are one of the key factors in design and development of modern materials used in cosmetics, pharmaceutics and foods. These materials are complex mixtures and neither ideal solids nor ideal liquids. Their molecular structure, morphology and composition control the viscoelastic properties responsible for application performance. This project aims to develop understanding of microstructural characteristics of lamellar formulations, specifically hair conditioners, under consumer relevant dynamic processes such as shear, dilution and drying from substrates. X-ray scattering will provide a means for studying the microstructural response of the material in setups that mimic the hair-care application. These dynamic processes will be studied to establish structure-property relationships allowing informed decisions on product design and performance to be taken. New learnings will have direct impact on future development of cosmetic products.

While working on fundamental science, the successful candidate will develop a close relationship with our industry partner, Unilever, and therefore have the opportunity to acquire skills necessary for a future career in either academia or industry. They will learn a wide range of basic experimental and analytical techniques (Chemical Analysis, NMR, Surface Tension, Rheology, Rheo-Optics) as well as focus on methods for structural characterisation of materials such as Electron Microscopy (SEM/TEM) and X-ray scattering (SAXS/WAXS). The successful candidate will be a member of a large research group and a regular user of Sheffield’s state-of-the-art Soft Matter Analytical Laboratory specializing in scattering and rheology techniques.

It is essential to have a first or upper second-class degree at MChem level in Chemistry, Physical Sciences or Materials Engineering (or an MSc in a relevant discipline) with core skills in experimental work and data analysis, and a basic knowledge of chemistry.

All applicants should provide a CV with 2 references including a covering statement (maximum 1 side of A4) outlining their motivation, skills and experience along with any other documents requested by the University, full details can be found at the below web link:

How to apply | Chemistry | The University of Sheffield

All formal applications should be made via the online application portal:

Postgraduate Online Application Form (

Funding Notes

EPSRC iCASE project
 The PhD studentship is fully funded for 4 years, to include 4 years UK tuition fee and maintenance stipend at the standard research council rate
 The PhD studentship is available to UK applicants
For eligibility criteria please visit:

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